The Book: Hans J. Morgenthau, POLITICS AMONG NATIONS: The Struggle for Power and Peace. Fifth edition, revised. Borzoi, 1978. Owner's signature and old telephone number written on front flyleaf; book is heavily highlighted and marked. Dust jacket is missing, but book is tight; spine is faded.
First read: 1984
Owned since: 1984
We're going back to politics and history for a while, because that's what I was listening to on this last trip, and it's what's on my mind. This was the main textbook for the International Relations class I took with Professor Coll; he was very young then, and my roommate and I had a crush on him. (Note to universities everywhere: class attendance improves when students have crushes on professors. Hire accordingly.)
Anyway, this edition was written at the height of the Cold War, and while much of it is now out-of-date, I've kept it because the insights are still clear and sound. Looking through it this morning, for example, I am particularly struck by Chapter 6, "The Struggle for Power: Policy of Prestige." "In the struggle for existence and power," Morgenthau writes, "what others think about us is as important as what we actually are."
Our current President has forgotten this, or maybe he doesn't care. Or maybe he wants the rest of the world to see us exactly as they do.
In any case, I'm happy to lend this book to any current or aspiring political candidate who wants to borrow it.
Five Random Songs (since I didn't post yesterday)
"Mutineer," Warren Zevon. In the summer of 1994, I took a weekend off and went to Bethany Beach, DE, all by myself -- except for a handful of CDs, and this was one of them.
"Falling For the First Time," Barenaked Ladies. This song is about someone jumping out of an airplane, I think. It's not something I feel any great need to do, although I hear it's fun. Claire's done it. It's good to have children braver than oneself.
"Conduct," The Durutti Column. A song and a band I was unfamiliar with until I got this CD, a collection of songs produced by the legendary Martin Hannett, for Christmas last year.
"Trouble in Mind," Big Walter Horton. This version of the song doesn't sound much like the version you probably know; it's off the great Alligator Records 20th Anniversary Collection.
"Baby It's You," The Shirelles. A great John Sayles movie, featuring Rosanna Arquette and a seriously hot Vincent Spano.